The Guru Grill

Hello, fellow Pitt football fans. It's time to fire up The Guru Grill.

This is where Panthers fans go to get the answers to their questions about University of Pittsburgh athletics and primarily recruiting from Scout.com Recruiting Analyst Bob Lichtenfels. He will answer the recruiting questions, and Senior Writer Dale Grdnic will handle questions about this year's Panthers football team.

WeRNotTheirRivals: Bob, disagree with your assessment of (Highlands QB) Jeff Sinclair over the Gateway safety (Jeff Parrish). The Gateway kid may have a faster 40 time, but I contend that not only does Sinclair possess a higher football IQ and size, he is the better overall athlete and has more potential. I think some bigger D-1A team is going to take a chance on him. And if it is not Pitt, shame on us. Really, if he played at TJ or Central, people would be all over him.

Guru: That last part is probably true, but you have to factor in the level of competition. Gateway just plays tougher teams. Also, Sinclair didn't go to any camps or any combines, and Parish did. And he proved himself there. Sinclair needed to go to these events and compete against the elite players, and if he did well he certainly would receive more publicity.

WeRNotTheirRivals: OK, I'll be the first one to ask a question about a kid who will likely be mentioned as much as Terrelle Pryor by the time he is a senior. Rushel Shell (from Hopewell, Pa. HS). What about him? Size, speed, potential? Is there a buzz starting?

Guru: The buzz probably will start sometime after this season, after he goes to some camps and combines and a few more people see him. We're really starting to learn about him. He has good size (6-0, 210) with good speed, but the intangible parts of the game he's still learning, vision and cut-backs. But for a ninth-grader, he has pretty good tools, and the interest certainly should pick up for him.

Reno9: Will the Panthers show any interest in Tajh Boyd-QB since he's no longer a Mountaineer? Does he have any interest in the Panthers?

Guru: Right after he decommitted, the Pitt staff started to get in contact with him. But when you're really not recruiting a kid the whole time like that, it's tough to just jump in after something happened. So, the other schools that were recruiting him really stayed on him, and they probably have a better shot. Among the schools involved again with Boyd are South Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Louisville and Penn State.

W0lfinator: What kind of prospect is Darrelle's younger brother, Terry Patrick? I was just reading the article put out from the NY Times about Darrelle and Aliquippa and they stated that his younger brother scored 2 TDs in the game he was at for the story. We all know #25 was under the radar, is his younger brother, too?

Guru: He's a solid prospect that Pitt had a lot of interest in, but he has academic issues. He might end up going to a JC or prep school. He's a talented defensive back, but Pitt's loaded with those right now and can afford to be picky in this situation.

tbro34: Is Pitt pretty much out of it for the Merrell twins at this point?

Guru: Pitt has been on them from the get-go and has offered both, which is important because they want to go to school together. Tennessee, for example, offered one and not the other. So, that probably won't work, but Pitt's definitely among the top teams in the running to get the Merrell twins.

WeRNotTheirRivals: Here's more of a statement than a question, but a discussion point. Bob is not a degreed anthropologist (I don't believe), so it is difficult to answer, but it makes for an interesting discussion. Since when did Western Pa. move from providing "tough-guy linemen'' like the Fralics, Coverts, Clarks, etc. and moved to being a bigger producer of skill-position guys. We haven't seen many dominant linemen lately, but have seen the Pryors, Baldwins, Breastons, Dickersons, Kings, etc. I find it interesting that this so called rust belt area produces alot of elite skill position guys. Still.

Guru: I think a lot of that stuff is cyclical. There are going to be years when you have great linemen and years when you're going to have great skill players. Also, players can train year-round and work on their game, so there are better athletes out there now. So, I think that factors into it as well.

W0lfinator: Has a light bulb come on for Dave and company? I noticed he said something about a ton of NFL coaches wanting to be the DC here, but he didn't want to hire NFL coaches due to the adjustment time it took him and MC. Is this him admitting that he knows the ways of college football better and that he probably made mistakes in the past due to still being NFL-minded? If so, what was it that turned the light on? The BG loss?

Dale: Yes, it has. It's no secret that Dave Wannstedt and Matt Cavanaugh had a rough transition from the NFL to college game. Remember after the loss at Ohio, although I'm sure many have blocked that out, that Cavanaugh said that the difference in the hash marks was a problem. Both definitely know the college game better now and have admitted to their past mistakes. I don't know if anything specifically turned the light on, but the BG loss was an eye-opener.

CaptainH: Currently 13 verbals and this is supposed to be a year for a smaller class. How many openings are left and looking into your crystal ball, who do you see as the remaining commits? You had indicated there might be one or more early verbals for 2010. Do you see that happening and if so, who do you think is close to pulling the trigger? Way early but how goes the recruiting of Paul Jones and Andrew Carswell?

Guru: They'll probably take around 18 guys, so I guess that means five more commitments are needed. The Merrill teams have to be in there, maybe a couple guys from Florida, that (RB Greg) Pratt kid, and certainly a spot has to be saved for Dan Mason. But there might be someone that isn't being talked about now that will surface late. On the 2010s, I think Myles Dieffenbach will commit early. He's a Pittsburgh kid, and I can't see him taking a long, long time. Kevin Weatherspoon from Clairton, he's a legacy kid, and could commit early. Pitt has been in on Jones and Carswell from Sto-Rox very early, and both like Pitt. They might not wait. Jones either goes to Pitt or Penn State, but PSU hasn't offered Carswell yet. And they've talked about going to the same school.

ajpit3521: How do you see the rest of the recruiting class filling up, position-wise?

Guru: It looks like Pitt will go after another linebacker, defensive lineman, wideout and running back. It looks like no quarterback this year.

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